It is difficult, almost impossible to imagine a modern successful DJ without the appropriate professional equipment and reliable software.
A DJ controller is a device that connects to a computer via USB and copies the operation of a standard DJ set. The standard set of a DJ is two turntables (they are called turntables), on which various compositions are played in turn and a mixer is located between them (a device that helps to make a smooth transition without pauses from one composition to another).
The dj controller is made in a monolithic case and outwardly also resembles a standard dj set, with the difference that it has jog wheels on the edges – round discs that replace vinyl records. Dj controller works together with professional DJing programs that are installed on your computer – Virtual Dj, NI Traktor, Serato Dj and others.
The computer monitor displays a list of songs that the DJ is going to play during the performance, as well as all the basic functions of the controller, such as song time, speed, volume level, etc. Some controllers have a built-in sound card (a device for recording music on a computer). If this feature is not available, it must be purchased separately.
Modern controllers typically include:
- Control panel with buttons, knobs, jog wheels, sliders/faders for manual control of software and settings. System status, volume level and other parameters are reflected on the display and using color indicators.
- Audio interface for transmitting sound and MIDI signals to a laptop, controlling processors and sound reinforcement systems, depending on the connectivity.
- Some newer models also have the ability to manage iOS devices.
Almost all DJ software can be controlled with a mouse and keyboard, but the need to scroll through a large number of menus to find functions, enter parameters and other actions is too laborious, time consuming and can negate all the efforts of a DJ. That is why the vast majority of DJs prefer hardware controllers.
Modular or versatile? Modular DJ controllers consist of a set of individual components: turntables and CD/media players, an analog mixing console, and sometimes a built-in sound card. Modular stations are controlled using DJ software. Although most modern DJs use universal all-in-one controllers that connect to a laptop, some still prefer a modular approach. Many aspiring DJs learn the basics of DJing through apps on their iOS devices before moving on to more expensive professional equipment.
Universal all-in-one controllers combine media players, a mixing console and a computer/iOS audio interface in a monolithic form factor. Such a station is equipped with traditional knobs, buttons and sliders for full manual control based on software and applications installed on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Of course, you can control all this with the keyboard, mouse or touchscreen, but once you try the good old faders and wheels, you will not return to GUI control. Real buttons and sliders ensure smoother, faster and more professional content management.
An all-in-one controller running the software of your choice is simpler both in design and operation. Many models allow you to perform offline DJ functions without connecting to a computer or mobile device. DJs who regularly order songs from CDs or flash drives will appreciate the ability to switch between “analogue” music and a digital signal from a laptop.